Now, like many, I have heard more than one preacher, down through the years, assert that he did not need a vacation. The reason? “Because the Old Devil never takes one!”
But the simple truth is that a careful study of the Gospels will reveal that at least ten times in His 42 month long public ministry (for an average of once per quarter), Jesus took some P.T.O. (personal time off) in order to get away from His busy schedule and to renew Himself.
So, perhaps the real question is, do we need to be patterning ourselves after the ways of the Devil or after the ways of the Lord?!
Moreover, God in His wisdom knew that even periodic trips away, by themselves, were not sufficient enough rest for full human productivity. That is why He ordained that men and women should work six days each week and then rest on the seventh.
It is little wonder, then, that in addition to His periodic trips away, Jesus also regularly and consistently observed the Sabbath as a special day. The Gospel writers record Him attending worship, fellowshipping with others in their homes, and loving and helping others, all on the Sabbath day. Doing so, no doubt, benefitted both Him and His followers.
Wayne Presnell has a wonderful blog entry on the importance of the Sabbath for each of us as followers of Jesus.* In it, he relates a story first told by Leslie R. Flynn, author of over forty books, and Pastor Emeritus of Grace Conservative Baptist Church in Nanuet, New York (where he served for over 40 years).
Dr. Flynn told the story of seven unmarried brothers who lived together in a large house. Six went out to work each day; but one stayed home. He had the place all lit up when the other six arrived home from work. He also had the house warm, and most importantly; he had a delicious, full-course dinner ready for his hungry brothers.
One day, the six brothers decided that the one that had been staying home should also go to work. “It’s not fair,” they said, “for one to stay home while the others slaved at a job.” So they made the seventh brother find work too.
But when they all came home the first night, there was no light; nor was there any warmth; and worst of all, there was no hearty dinner awaiting them. And the next night, it was the same thing again: darkness, cold, hunger. They soon realized the error of their way and went back to their former arrangement.
Dr. Flynn goes on to remind us that, for Christians, the Lord's Day is the day of rest and worship that keeps the other six days bright, warm, and nourishing. He then concludes with this admonition: “When we desecrate the Lord’s Day, we only hurt ourselves.” How true.
*SOURCES: Wayne Presnell is Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Lucas, Ohio. He describes his blog as a place for “providing fresh illustrations for use in sermons, Bible Studies and talks”. He can be found online at: http://www.lucasgracebible.com/. The specific online source for his above referenced blog is at: https://pastorpresnell.wordpress.com/2012/05/.